Marriage: By Nature And Grace
When nature puts you in exciting romantic trance, one
hypnotized by the sexuality of the other, remember you may
go only so far on a romantic trance.
Of course young couples are always charming while all those in love are appealing whether young or not. But one cannot simply leave it there. The truth is nature is a good beginning, but left alone makes for a bad ending. Along the way of nature there has to be reasoning, thinking through issues, and prayer.
Yes, you may feel called by nature to marry, but you must also be called by grace. Marriage is first meant to be between a man and a woman primarily for the rearing children. Marriages should then be stable, enduring, intent on rearing children in Christian values. To do this the spouses must be called by nature AND called by grace.
What nature starts, grace must finish. What natural impulses start at some point end in need for character. Nature may turn the key but happiness is knowing how to drive. To turn the key takes an impulse of nature. But to move along takes wisdom, grace, prayer and a knowledge of where you are going.
What nature starts, character has to finish by sustaining and enduring grace. It takes grace to finish what you start.
Depending upon nature’s impulses only is like taking a walk off a cliff. Usually nature’s impulses are exciting if rarely long term sustainable. What nature starts, character developed through grace will have to finish.
If you are going to marry, it must be directed by grace as well as nature. Do not be simplistic in your thinking, however young-feeling you may be. The exciting romantic impulses nature puts in you are not enough basis for marriage by themselves.
Also consider if you want a family. Consider the good of the children to be. Consider the quality of your life. Consider if both of you can grow in grace together. The family is an experimental laboratory in grace. Consider Christ.
In America The Decadent around half the marriages end in divorce. In many American families, the circumstances are his children, her children and their children. It is a rare son in the United States reared with his own father in the house.
The American family is seen as a joke over the world. I do not say it always is, but how it is seen and too often is. Then there are single mothers whose children do not have fathers and they are proud of this. They think they have done something cute and liberal. But this is wrong. Children also have rights. They have a right to a father and a mother legally married unless there are circumstances that can not be helped.
But you do not have to opt for an American style marriage or family. I pray otherwise for you, (not night and day) yet I pray and urge you to consider a Christian marriage.
Your spouse should excite you. Nothing wrong with that. It is a good start but a poor ending. To become as one (Matthew 19:5) it is a start to be attracted by nature but nature must be fulfilled by grace.
Do not vilify nature because it puts you in a romance where you are hypnotized the one by the other. This is natural. The tides go in and the tides go out. It is not the fault of the tides if you are drowned in them. Life offers choices: accept the waves of the sea and learn to swim in them. Or learn to surf over them. Or I advise you to consider if, like Noah, you should build an arc to float your beasts.
The scriptures point out that there is a way (nature) that seemeth right unto a person, but the end thereof is the way of death. (Proverbs 16:25)
Nature neglected for too long may turn into tragedy. Nature makes a good start but a poor finish. Nature cannot be relied upon alone or always. What begins in nature has a good beginning, but at some time things must switch over to or include grace.
What begins in nature is civilized through grace. Nature by itself will lead to anger followed by anger, a hit for a hit, an eye for an eye, a good impulse taken too far without thinking. That is what faith is all about: the redemption of nature, the spiritualizing of the flesh. Certainly not abolishing the flesh or denying it but redeeming it, spiritualizing it by using the energy of nature wisely and for the good. Nature is Christ-channeled through grace.
Is this not the history of mankind? That man was created good, but fell so he had to be redeemed by God’s grace in Jesus Christ who rose from His death by transcending grace. That made us whole persons. Christ put our bodies and souls together through His redemption that we might be made whole persons enjoying the flesh with a redeeming spirit.
Nature is a good thing, but it is redeeming grace that fulfils it. What you begin in nature is not wrong, but it must be fulfilled by grace to endure.
Any call from nature to be successful must have a call from grace to redeem the day. Therefore if you marry, find a spiritually observant person who is capable of belief. Remember Psalm 127:1, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.